Comments on the book “Inventory of the Municipal Archive of Salvador Alvarado, Sinaloa”
The current situation of the archives in Mexico and Sinaloa is in a transition stage thanks to the interest and drive shown by the current government administrations at all levels. In this transitional environment, those of us who are interested in rescuing the archives and their organization have had to look for alternative ways to organize the documentary collections and we have done it from our own trench: as historians or as chroniclers, and with the meager resources available. .
Within the history of archival activity in Sinaloa, the work undertaken by the AGN in 1987 stands out, since the government of the state of Sinaloa through DIFOCUR signed an agreement for the rescue, preservation and organization of municipal archives. This initiative not only organized the documents of the municipalities, but also prepared a general inventory of the 18 municipal archives of Sinaloa with a detailed list of their contents. Despite the efforts made by the AGN, in many municipalities the work carried out was not given continuity and the files were dispersed or lost. However, this work was fundamental since the classified and organized collections in many cases remained in the offices and warehouses of the municipalities, as was the case with the file referred to here, which was found in an office that agglomerated personnel
of the human resources department in the municipal presidency: around 112 AG-12 boxes with documents dated from 1957 to 1992 mainly, with documentary information of great importance for the municipality such as the cabildo minute books from 1963 (among them the first minute council), deeds, correspondence, public works, treasury, etc. One of the most important aspects of the book “Inventory of the Municipal Archive of Salvador Alvarado, Sinaloa” is that it presents the contents of the documents mentioned in an organized way through an inventory.
This book is a consultation instrument like the one from 1987, and represents an achievement for archival science in Sinaloa, since in its substratum it combines the activity of institutions and people who have dedicated interest and effort to carry out this work. The main institution that contributed was the Municipality of Salvador Alvarado itself through the area of culture, today the Municipal Institute of Culture, which since 2011 and through its different administrations have given support to the rescue and organization of different collections, from the historical archive to the organization of the Official Newspaper of the state of Sinaloa, local press (El Debate de Guamúchil, Noroeste and El Sol de Sinaloa), photography and the archive of the concentration in which work is being carried out.
Since 2010, the decree of the historical municipal archive has been published in the administration of Jorge Casal through Lic. Francisco Tavizón, chronicler of the city, which gives legal support to what would be the historical archive; later, in the administration of Dr. Gonzalo Camacho with Romel Báez at the head of the House of Culture, and thanks to the encouragement of Dr. Víctor Díaz de la Vega, Herberto Sinagawa and Adrián García Cortez, the rescue of the historical file. In the administration of Liliana Cárdernas with Marco Antonio López Gonzáles in Secretariat and Ambrocio López in culture, an agreement was reached with the Faculty of History and the archive was transferred to their facilities. And finally, I highlight the interest shown by Carlo Mario Ortiz (RIP) and the subsequent support of the president Pier Angely Camacho, as well as the management of Oralia Castro that made the publication of this book possible.
Likewise, the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, through the Faculty of History, which, directed by Dr. Félix Brito, has carried out arduous work in the organization of municipal archives such as that of this municipality of Salvador Alvarado, in addition to those of Concordia and El Strong. Since from the administrations of Professor Alfonso Mercado, the documentary rescue of the municipalities began, passing through directors such as Eduardo Frías and Ofelia Chávez, who had to receive and deliver this already organized file. The implications of taking the archives to the Faculty of History have had a very positive impact, since at first, it promotes research work for historians and chroniclers, and in turn, encourages students to approach archival work, involving them in the cleaning, classification and ordering of the documentation, invaluable knowledge for their training and their possible future employment in this field.
Another institution of importance has been Support for the Development of Archives and Libraries, ADABI de México AC, a Civil Association that has been interested in the rescue of archives in Mexico, and that in our case supported the training of teachers and students for the organization of the files.
Likewise, the State Government, through the Sinaloa Institute of Culture, has taken on the challenge of supporting municipal archives even before the State Law of Archives is published, which demonstrates this transition that I mentioned at the beginning. In this case, it is important to highlight the support to enable adequate spaces for the protection and preservation of archives, as well as for their respective consultation. In this sense, the past state administration allocated economic resources for the fitting out and equipping of spaces for the protection and preservation of archives.
As for the book that concerns us, it presents a simple structure beginning with a historical synthesis of the municipality; it continues with a section referring to the archive, where the work carried out in it is narrated and the description of some important documents; later the before and after in photography; the classification table with the sections and series of the archive and finally the inventory that is presented in a table that indicates the section, the series, the box, the volumes it contains, the chronological period and some observations of the documents.
Within the documentation that the inventory of the archive presents to us, we find, first of all, the acts of the council, where the first act dated January 1, 1963 and signed by the councilors, among whom the first municipal president Alberto Vega stands out. Chavez; important decrees and regulations such as the exercise of prostitution and tolerance zone, regulation of tortilla factories and nixtamal mills, itinerant commerce, markets and one of the most interesting regulations of the trucking center where the UAdeO facilities are currently located; In addition, there are documents on public works, construction permits, drainage construction, street paving, public lighting, “parking meters” or parking meters; there are also the permits for the sale of firearms, the armories and their owners; on the limits between the municipality of Angostura and Salvador Alvarado; in addition to two boxes with plans about the city and its neighborhoods; creation of new neighborhoods, requests for lots, user complaints about public services; and series on different topics such as education, elections, livestock, correspondence, drinking water, etc., which provides us with a range of information to understand the past of a society, its economic, social, political and cultural activities.
In my particular case, as a historian, I have been forced to venture into archival work due to the lack of sources for my research, which have been inclined to understand the past of the Évora region and the development of the city of Guamúchil . At first, I consulted Mocorito’s archive up to 1962, the cut-off date for my master’s thesis; However, the initial objective was to tell the local and regional history throughout the 20th century, so I resorted to organizing the sources of this municipality in order to complement the history, which brought me closer to the wide world of archival, Of course, without being an archivist.
The inventory of the Salvador Alvarado archive is just an initial work in this field, since it represents a small portion of the archival work that lies ahead, and the challenges are the organization of the archive of concentration and the establishment of an archive system, the which will allow the systematic migration of the files from their creation in the offices of the municipal government agencies to their permanent storage in the Historical Archive, passing through the concentration file.
There are also, as pending subjects, research work on the history and historiography of archival science in Sinaloa, which will allow those interested in the subject to have a clearer diagnosis and knowledge about the archives and their contents, as well as efforts made in the past. The municipal archives are only part of the multiplicity that the documentary heritage represents, which extends to the ecclesiastical archives, private, photographic, auditory, audiovisual archives, newspaper archives, among others.
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Finally, with the State Archives Law, it is expected not only that the obligated subjects generate commitments to organize their archives, it is also expected that said law will promote efficient instruments for staff training and financing, basic to carry out this work.
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